Today in History:

30 Series I Volume XXVIII-I Serial 46 - Ft. Sumter - Ft. Wagner Part I

Page 30 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

Fort Wagner and Battery Gregg were at once strengthened, and additional defensive works on the island constructed. A powerful armament of mortars and rifled guns was placed in position on the north end of the island, to be held in readiness to co-operate with the iron-clads whenever they should be prepared to move in, and also to be used as occasion might require, to prevent the mounting of guns on the ruins of Sumter.

151. The three days' firing on Fort Sumter with a portion of the breaching guns in the left batteries and second parallel, ending September 1, did not materially change the appearance of the work, at shown at the close of the first bombardment, August 23. Only the gorge wall was breached. The southeast face, the only one seen from our position, excepting the gorge, remained standing, although badly shattered in many places. All the barbette guns of the fort had been either dismounted by our five or removed by the enemy, and most of the parapet had been knocked away.


152. In consequence of the reports of prisoners and deserters, from time to time, that the enemy were at work mounting some guns on the southeast face of Sumter, and also with the intention to cut down that face so as to enables us, with the fire from our guns, to take more completely in reverse the casemates on the channel fronts, the heavy rifled guns in Wagner and Gregg were opened on the work on the 26th of October.

153. In a few days the southeast face was more completely a ruin than the gorge wall. The debris formed a continuous and practicable ramp reaching from the summit of the breach to the level of the water. (See the supplementary report of Brigadier-General Turner, chief of artillery.*)

154. With the second bombardment of Fort Sumter ended all aggressive operations for the season against the defenses of Charleston. A slow and irregular fire upon the fort was kept up from some time to prevent the mounting of guns on the ruins pending the completion of the naval preparations for entering the harbor, which, for various reasons had been delayed greatly beyond the expectations of the admiral.

On the 20th of October, I learned from Admiral Dahlgren that there would probably be no attempt made to remove the obstructions and enter the inner harbor until more turret iron-clads arrived. Several were expected.

155. The bombardment of the city of Charleston, which began from the Marsh Battery on the night of the 21st of August, was not resumed after the bursting, at the 36th round, of the 8-inch Parrott rifle, which formed the entire armament of that battery, until we were able to establish guns on Cumming's Point. No military results of great value were ever expected from this firing. As an experiment with heavy guns to test their endurance under the severest trial to which they could possibly be subjected in service, the results were not only highly interesting and novel, but very instructive.

None but Parrott rifles and shells were used for this purpose. Some of them were incendiary shells prepared at the War Point Foundry; others contained pieces of port-fire in addition to the explosive charge, while others contained powder only.


*Printed as Numbers 3, Operations in Morris Island.


Page 30 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.